Letter from Resident with Ears Still Ringing

To the Editor:

Imagine an early evening twenty years ago, a Christmas Day on St John…calm and peaceful… with family and friends sitting together to enjoy a quiet meal and exchange gifts, laughing and talking about their day and about days in the past. Now and then, neighbors drift past, maybe playing scratch instruments and singing old island holiday songs…stopping to sip a glass of guavaberry and share the holiday with those inside.

Compare that evening to what we endured this past Monday evening in Glucksberg (and probably in many other neighborhoods as well)…a party nearly a quarter mile away, with amplifiers stacked twenty feet high blasting raucous, belching, tuneless, angry noise into the night air for over six hours…valleys and hillsides  assaulted by a relentless bass beat and by belching and screaming noise that shook our walls, damaged our eardrums, and ruined our holiday.

In our homes, there was no way to escape the noise. Dogs and babies howled in pain. Old people panicked as their hearts raced too fast for health. We couldn’t hear each other’s voices in the room…let alone phone conversations with distant family…all communication and sense of closeness  made impossible.
When asked to modify the volume, the hosts of the party refused. When the police were asked to intervene, they too refused.

I ask readers to join us in attempting to set limits on this assaultive noise which has invaded and taken over what was once a quiet and gentle culture. Before we become a totally hearing-impaired and musically deprived community, let’s raise our voices for common sense. The rest of the world accepts as fact that excessive noise is harmful physically, psychologically, and culturally. Why are we in the islands not using our common sense to protect our peace and health?

If there are adequate ordinances already in place, let’s push to have them enforced. And if at this time, there are no legal guidelines to protect us from harmful noise levels, let’s work together to create the laws we need.

If you have suggestions of how we might begin, please address them to the Editor.

A resident with ears still ringing